How to Build Raised Garden Beds

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Today we had the great pleasure of hosting several amazing volunteers from Dell who came out to our Emergency Shelter to build raised garden beds for our clients. Why garden beds? Our clients requested it so that they can grow veggies, herbs and flowers.

When you don’t have your own kitchen, it means a lot to have access to healthy, great tasting food. And if you talk to our clients – like the Dell volunteers did as they worked together at the Shelter – they’ll tell you that that’s exactly what LifeWorks provides. Many of our clients living at the Shelter have been in dozens of foster care placements, and nutrition and wellness education isn’t always a part of their lives. Our new vegetable gardens will not only provide delicious, fresh ingredients for the kitchen, but a great opportunity for clients to learn more about nutrition and wellness.

Our Dell volunteers worked long and hard through a hot morning today, but this is definitely a project you can do at home. Check out the instructions below to build your own raised garden beds.

Supplies

  • Landscaping timbers
  • Landscaping cloth
  • Rebar stakes
  • 6 inch spike spiral nails
  • Screws
  • Gravel
  • Soil
  • Mulch

Tools

  • Table or miter saw
  • Drill with ½ inch auger bit
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife or scissors

Steps

1)      Choose an area for your beds and clear it of any high weeds or grass. We chose two spots along the fence because they are sunny and flat.

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2)      Lay your landscaping cloth down where you plan to put your beds. The landscaping cloth will help prevent weeds from growing into your garden beds.

3)      Use your miter or table saw to cut your landscaping timbers at a 45 degree angle and at the length that you require (we made two 8’ x 3’ beds, and two 8’ x 4’ beds).

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4)      Line up the pieces of your frame on the ground, so that each corner is square, then screw them together with your drill. You may need to drill a pilot hole first, depending on how hard the wood is.

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5)      Repeat the process of cutting your landscaping timbers and forming your frames until you have enough frames. Because we made 4 beds that were 4 frames high, we needed 16 frames total.

6)      Place your first frame on the landscaping cloth, then stack the second frame on top so they are even. Use the ½ inch auger bit on your drill to drill a pilot hole straight down the two frames until you reach the dirt below.

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7)      Using your rebar stake and hammer, stake the bed into the ground, at least one stake per side (we used 2 stakes each on the longer sides).

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8)      Now put the third frame level on top of your base, and use your 6 inch nails to secure the frame to the base. Repeat with the fourth frame.

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9)      Use your utility knife to cut off the excess landscaping cloth from around the base.

10)      Fill the bottom of the garden bed with gravel at least an inch thick. We had plenty of gravel, so we filled ours all the way to the top of the first timber.

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11)   Fill the rest of the bed with garden soil of your choice, leaving about an inch on top for mulch.

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Your raised garden beds are complete! In the next few days, our clients will be planting the vegetables and other plants in our four new beds.

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Thank you, Dell volunteers!

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